Council consults residents on huge cut in library budget

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LIBRARY users and councillors are being urged to carefully consider the future of village libraries in Kirklees ahead of planned cuts which could lead to sites closing and the loss of dozens of jobs.

Labour-run Kirklees Council is consulting with residents on potentially drastic cuts that could see only Huddersfield and Dewsbury libraries under council control, leaving the remaining 24 sites with an uncertain future.

It could mean the loss of 100 staff as the library budget drops from £6.3m to £2.8m by 2017. A second option would see council investment in community-run libraries. A meeting to save Golcar library in Huddersfield will be held tonight at 6.30pm.

Council leader David Sheard said: “Kirklees, in common with other local authorities across the country, faces significant cuts in funding and in the light of this we are starting to talk about how services can be delivered differently in the future.

“We are inviting our residents to think about how they can become more involved in delivering services in their own communities. This is the start of a difficult process looking at how the council provides different services to meet the needs of people.”

A council spokeswoman confirmed consultations will be held in the autumn before any decisions are made. Final plans will be voted on at a full council meeting in February next year when the authority’s budget is decided.

The spokeswoman said: “The council will discuss options with community groups and other interested parties who might be willing to take on responsibility for services that are valuable to them.

“Anyone who would like to discuss this further should contact their local councillor in the first instance.”

Mirfield Conservative Town Councillor James Taylor claimed Kirklees had made promises to devolve power but did not follow it through.

He said: “Residents are paying the same council tax and getting less and less.”

The town council is due to discuss the future of Mirfield library at its next meeting.